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On this day in 1857 – September 17th – Russian rocket scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky was born in Izhevskoye, Russia.

Tsiolkovsky is considered one of the founding fathers of rocketry and astronautics. Long before the Wright brothers' first plane flew 120 feet, he was thinking space travel. And when it was still science fiction to most people, he was developing the theory, and doing the math, for multistage rockets.